Many blessings of the kingdom of God are already ours in Christ. Yet many others will only be fulfilled when He returns in glory. In between His first and second coming, we live in tension between the "already” and the “not yet.” In Luke 17, Jesus teaches us about the coming of His kingdom so that we may have divine assurance that quells our fears, as well as reverent anticipation that guides our lives for His glory.
Ingratitude may seem like a minor sin, but it betrays a heart focused on the merit of self rather than the mercy of God. Only one who has known the cleansing grace of Jesus Christ can be transformed from a fault-finder to a thanks-giver through the Savior who gave thanks right up to His crucifixion … and beyond!
Every endeavor has basic principles that are essential for growth and fruitfulness. In Luke 17, Jesus discusses three key areas that His disciples need to be familiar with if they are to follow Him and grow in holiness. By grace, unworthy servants like us may grow in godliness through faith in the only truly worthy Servant, Jesus Christ.
Both believers and unbelievers wonder what happens to us after we die. Unbelievers grope in search of answers, frequently turning to the fanciful or the occult. But the Lord Jesus reveals the most important things we need to know about the eternal state: the reality of eternal judgment apart from Him and the promise of eternal grace in Him. Only the One who triumphed over the grave can direct our lives before we die and secure our peace afterward, for the honor of His eternal Name.
Hebrews 12 says, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." No one likes to be rebuked, especially in public, and especially by the Lord Jesus! But Jesus’ rebuke leads to life through repentance and faith in Him. Through the Scriptures, He exposes our sin so that we might grow in His grace.
In the beginning, God blessed us with ingenuity, insight, and creativity. However, the fall soon warped our hearts and minds, causing us to use our gifts in selfish and sinful ways. But Jesus unwarps and redeems us through the grace of the gospel, granting us shrewd and discerning hearts so that we might invest the resources He entrusts to us for His eternal glory.
Sometimes the greatest barrier to fellowship with God is not the bad things we do but the good. Not our acts of outright rebellion, but the otherwise good things we do for our own benefit and glory. In Jesus’ parable, the older brother was just as lost as the younger brother even though he had never left home. His pride in his good works had distanced him from his father and made him believe he was without sin. But God offers grace even to older brothers like us through the merit of our Great Older Brother, Jesus Christ.
Though the end of Luke 15 is typically referred to as the parable of the lost son, the main emphasis is on the grace of the merciful father. The one sinned against bears the cost and shame of his child’s disobedience so that he may receive him back in love. So, too, God the Father welcomes back lost sinners through Jesus’ atoning work on the cross, rejoicing to bring the dead to life.
Lost things never find themselves. They must be found by one who is looking for them. The same is true for people lost in sin; we must be found by the Living God. In Luke 15, Jesus seeks us in our lost estate, rejoices to find us, and then calls us to rejoice with Him as we seek others in His Name so that they, too, might know the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
We live in an age of free trials, no obligation, and cancel at any time. In every sphere of life, both sacrifice and commitment are rare and fleeting. But Jesus offers us something infinitely better: a Savior who is worth committing our lives to, even when it is costly, even when it hurts, even unto death. Jesus is not seeking spectators, but disciples who will follow the “all in” Savior who first gave His life for us.